7. Conclusion


The Ladino folk song constitutes today a widely disseminated repertoire of "World Music". The process that lead to such a development is complex (Seroussi 1995). However, Sephardi women seldom participate in this process (some notable exceptions are Flory Jagoda in the USA, Ester Roffe in Venezuela and Kokhava Levy in Israel). The appropriation of their repertoire by others (Jewish and non-Jewish male and female professional artists around the world) ended therefore centuries of transmission and performance, which were acts of asserting identities in the traditional Jewish society.

The existence of a special social space for singing ended with the "liberalization" of Sephardi women in modern states, including Israel. In the orthodox camp, however, this social phenomenon may be still alive. Musical performance may still serve as a space for independent female expression among orthodox Sephardi women. But the vocal performance of the venerable Judeo-Spanish romances and canciones from the Sephardi diaspora, as well as equivalent traditional repertoires in Judeo-Arabic, disappeared. They are substituted today in Israel by less threatening instrumental arrangements of "Hasidic" pop hits played on Yamaha electric organs.

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